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It’s June, and Here’s Why Alexandrite, Moonstone, and Pearl are Your Birthstones

By: Shmukler Design

For those born in the month of June, you have the luxury of selecting the birthstone that best fits your personality and personal preference from among three beautiful options: pearl, alexandrite, and moonstone. Scholars and researchers alike believe the anointing of birthstones can be traced to biblical times, when a dozen gemstones said to represent the 12 tribes of Israel, were described in the book of Exodus.

Here, in today’s post, we’re pleased to tell you about the history of June’s three birthstones, as well as offer some tips on keeping those stones clean for years to come.

History of the Pearl

Pearls have the special distinction of being the only gemstones made by living creatures and are thought to be among the world’s first gemstones. In the ancient Middle East, people believed pearls were teardrops that fell from heaven. The ancient Chinese wrote that pearls came from the brain of a dragon.

18 Karat Yellow Gold Ring w/ Golden South Sea Pearl, created by Boris Shmukler.

Pearls can be found within any shelled mollusk, but only certain clams use mother-of-pearl to create the iridescent pearls we use in jewelry. These natural treasures don’t require any polishing to reveal their shine.

Pearls are produced when mollusks deposit layers of calcium carbonate around microscopic debris that becomes wedged inside their shells. Those mollusks thrive in freshwater and fittingly, the formation of beautiful pearls is nearly impossible when the water in which the mollusk resides is polluted.

Of course, the rarest and most expensive pearls are natural pearls that are created in the wild, but most pearls marketed today require a human touch. Often, these pearls are cultured or farmed by implanting a grafted piece of shell — and sometimes a small bead as well — into pearl oysters or freshwater pearl mussels. These cultured pearls can also be dyed a multitude of colors, including pink, yellow, blue, purple and black.

Natural pearls were formerly found in many parts of the world, but today, natural pearling is mostly restricted to the Persian Gulf waters near Bahrain — primarily because thousands of years of harvesting pearls has diminished the natural supply. Australia’s pearl diving fleets, the last of their kind, also harvest natural pearls from the Indian Ocean. And most of today’s cultured freshwater pearls come from China.

Pearl Legends and Lore

Pearls have always been associated with innocence, purity and humility. Their connection to purity once made them a traditional wedding gift, a practice that legend says began in ancient Greece. The stone is also known to symbolize wisdom acquired through experience, generosity, integrity, and loyalty. Pearls are thought to be calming and to balance one’s karma and strengthen relationships.

Different pearl colors have different meanings as well:

  • White: The traditional white pearl symbolizes the classic values of innocence, purity, and new beginnings.
  • Brown: Brown pearls embody practicality, masculinity, dependability, and harmony.
  • Pink: Pink pearls are said to bring the wearer success, fame, and good fortune, and blue pearls are thought to bring their wearer love.

Pearls are also thought to have beneficial properties. Hundreds of years ago in Asia, pearls were thought to help alleviate indigestion and hemorrhages. There were some 19th century Arab physicians who believed that pearl powder improved eyesight and eased depression. It is written in the ancient Sanskrit text — the Atharvaveda — that pearls bestow long life and prosperity.

Cleaning Pearls

Pearls are a soft gem and require special care.

  • Storage: We suggest you store them separately from other gemstones and metal jewelry to prevent scratching. And never place them in a plastic bag, because chemicals emitted by plastic can damage the surface of a pearl.
  • Cosmetics: Always apply your perfume, hair products and cosmetics before putting on your pearl jewelry to keep them free of chemicals.
  • Cleaning: Here at Shmukler Design, a Southern California-based custom jeweler, we believe the best way to clean your pearls is with a soft, damp cloth — ideally after each wear.

Next, let’s discuss June’s second birthstone, Alexandrite.

History of Alexandrite

Alexandrite is a rare and fairly modern gemstone. The first major deposits of this gem were found in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains (a 1,550-mile mountain range that runs from northwestern Kazakhstan to the coast of the Arctic Ocean). The stone was named after Alexander II, who was heir apparent to the throne at the time of its discovery, and later was the Emperor of Russia until his assassination in the spring of 1881. Alexandrite is especially precious to its home country because its red and green colors mirror the national military colors of imperial Russia.

Alexandrite is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, which changes color in different lighting. It is often described as an “emerald by day, ruby by night.” This magical color change is due to the traces of chromium, the same coloring agent found in emerald.

The Ural Mountain deposits of the gem were eventually mined out, and now most Alexandrite comes from Brazil, Sri Lanka and East Africa. The newer deposits contain few high-quality stones with that incredible color change. That scarcity has made Alexandrite highly prized and quite expensive, and it is becoming more valuable than most gemstones, even rubies and diamonds.

The Omens of Alexandrite

Bringing good omens to anyone who wears it, Alexandrite is associated with concentration and learning. It is believed to strengthen the wearer’s intuition, aid creativity and inspire their imagination. Additionally, it can bring luck, good fortune and love. Alexandrite’s changing color is thought to be a reminder that life is not only what it appears to be.

Alexandrite is also thought by crystal healers to unlock your crown chakra and allow you access to the healing energy and the loving support of the universe. This energy can bring balance to your physical and spiritual worlds.

Cleaning Alexandrite

This June birthstone is hard and tough, unlike the pearl. It also has no cleavage, which is a tendency to break when struck, making it a fabulous choice for rings and other mountings worn daily. At Shmukler Design, we advise that you clean your Alexandrite in warm, soapy water, but some ultrasonic and steam cleaners can be safe as well.

Next up — June’s third birthstone… Moonstone.

History of Moonstone

Moonstones go back to our good friend and master gemologist, Pliny the Elder, who was featured in our May 2019 post, It’s May and Here’s Why Emerald is Your Birthstone. He once wrote that moonstone’s shimmery appearance “shifted with the phases of the moon.”

Moonstone is composed of microscopic layers of feldspar that scatter light, much like the appearance of the milky glow of moonlight on still water. The thinner layers produce a bluish sheen and thicker layers look white. Moonstone gems come in a range of colors including yellow, pink, green gray, blue, and peach. The finest and most desired form of moonstone is often colorless and transparent with a blue shimmer. Moonstone can be found in many places, but the finest moonstones are found in Sri Lanka and India.

Moonstone necklace and earrings, crafted by Boris Shmukler.

Moonstone has been used in jewelry dating back to ancient civilizations, but more recently gained popularity during the art nouveau period of the 1890s to the 1910s. It became popular once more in the 1960s during the “flower child” movement and with New Age designers of the 1990s.

The gem has also been Florida’s official state gemstone since 1970 as a commemoration of the landings on Earth’s moon that originated at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Moonstone Legends and Godliness

This June birthstone has been associated with both Roman and Greek lunar deities, and both Hindu and Roman mythology claims that it is made of solidified moonbeams. The stone is also thought to harness the power of the moon and is seen as inherently feminine.

Moonstone is often associated with one’s inner goddess and symbolizes with love, passion and fertility. It is also believed to bring the wearer luck, balance, intuition and psychic abilities.

Cleaning Moonstone

Moonstones have low hardness and are weak, prone to stress cracking and cleaving, especially when exposed to heat. Do not use ultrasonic and steam cleaners on your moonstone jewelry. Make sure to clean it with warm, soapy water and a soft brush to maintain its beauty.

For more information about these three June birthstones — or how to create a setting that makes them stand out — call us at (949) 870-9915 or use the online contact form on the Shmukler Design website.

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